The Trial of the Chicago 7

A movie doesn’t need a multitude of special effects to dazzle. Character driven stories are just as effective. Emotional dramas and crackling dialogue provide riveting viewing. Having a movie based on real events makes things feel relatable. ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ is filled with a myriad of fascinating personalities. Its’ factual background packs more power than any huge budgeted spectacle.

In 1968, the Chicago Seven were a group of anti-Vietnam war protestors charged by the federal government with conspiracy to incite a riot. Among the charged were Abbie (Sacha Baron Cohen), Tom (Eddie Redmayne) and Bobby (Yahya Abdul-Mateen). With the nation’s media glare upon them, the group aimed to protect their freedoms and right to protest against an enormous tidal wave of government interference and polarising public opinion.

Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ is absorbing viewing. Notions of true justice and bias are driven home without too much melodrama. The screenplay presents its case as mundane as a typical courtroom procedural. The fascinating moments derive from the different characters played by a stellar cast.

Although the events portrayed in ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ happened over 50 years ago, the themes still resonate. Defiance against government interference in legal procedure is one recently seen several times. The rights of citizens to question and agitate for peaceful change are timeless issues. These push the narrative along at a solid pace providing continual captivating watching.

The battles and freedoms won yesterday by pioneers as those seen in ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ are ones many now benefit from. Such people deserve to be remembered with this cinematic depiction doing them justice. It’s a worthwhile movie to be seen for anyone interested in the history of those daring to stand up against an archaic establishment.

Rating out of 10: 8



Films with enclosed settings are often gripping. ‘Panic Room’ is a good example. The claustrophobia felt as the characters defended themselves against dangerous outsiders is one most would relate. ‘7500’ has some of those qualities in its airborne setting. People who aren’t fans of planes may find the story off-putting but it’s a consistently arresting essay on the unpredictability of human behaviour.

Tobias Ellis (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a co-pilot on a flight from Berlin to Paris. Shortly after a smooth take-off, he hears shouting from the passenger cabin. Listening to the bedlam from behind the cockpit door, he realises the plane has been hijacked by terrorists. Attempting to prevent them from storming into the cockpit, Tobias raises the 7500 emergency code as he prepares to grapple between life and death.

‘7500’ is filled with plenty of initial promise. The analytical manner in which Tobias undertakes his duties is interesting as is his resilience and resourcefulness in the face of adversity. The small ensemble cast quickly establish their thinly written characters amidst a backdrop of the film’s low budget but high intentions.

Up to the halfway point ‘7500’ soars. The tension swiftly increases as does Tobias’ personal and professional dilemmas. Patrick Vollrath’s direction makes effective use of the limited setting although the nerve jangling atmosphere gradually deflates. Towards the end it becomes slightly dull where it should be filled with moody foreboding. The focus on the pilot rather than the passengers offers a refreshing twist in the usual ‘plane in peril’ genre.

The first half of ‘7500’ is compelling viewing whereas the second half not so much ‘7500’ still provides Gordon-Levitt an opportunity to showcase his acting skills. It’s not a good advert for flying with the likelihood of it being shown on a plane’s viewing platform as miniscule as the film’s budget.

Rating out of 10: 6